Divorce and Bankruptcy

Sometimes, life kicks you while you are down. Often times, financial stress causes marital problems contributing to divorce. The financial woes which caused problems in the marriage often get worse during and after the divorce process.

Unfortunately, many couples are left with little more to share than debt when they go through a divorce. The cost of maintaining two separate households is obviously higher than maintaining one, making debt which was difficult to pay during the marriage impossible to pay after the divorce.

Also, in some cases the divorce actually causes a person to go in debt. Suddenly needing to support a household on one income may lead to use of credit cards to pay for basic expenses. Costs of divorce may be paid with credit cards, causing additional debt.

If a person is fortunate, during the marriage enough assets have been accumulated to allow these debts to paid once those assets are distributed and child support and/or maintenance are being received.

However, in many situations debts continue to rise after the divorce as there simply is not enough money to cover expenses and the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage. Eventually, these debts go unpaid or the person realizes that these debts will linger with only minimum payments being made.

In these situations, unfortunately divorce leads to bankruptcy. If a person is already facing financial difficulties while going through their divorce, bankruptcy should be discussed then with a competent attorney. It may be that better options are available, but if you must file bankruptcy, the divorce settlement can limit your options in bankruptcy if you are not careful. For instance, you often cannot discharge a responsibility to pay a joint debt with your ex-spouse.

If your divorce agreement or decision says that you must pay part or all of a debt which is in the name of your ex-spouse or held jointly with your ex-spouse, while you may discharge your liability to the original creditor, you may still have to pay your ex-spouse for your share of the liability. Therefore, if you know you may need to file bankruptcy, it is important to negotiate terms in the divorce which allow you to leave the marriage debt-free.

If you are contemplating divorce or bankruptcy, consult with an experienced attorney prior to making any decisions. A little planning may make your life changes a little easier